Stay of execution?

Effects of tight lacingAn angry Dr Tuson from Fitzrovia writes to the London Medical Journal in 1831.  He begins with an apology: 

Though I may incur the displeasure of many of the female part of the community in investigating a subject, the province of which they may consider peculiarly their own, yet on perusing my observations they will perceive that an anxious solicitude Read more

Almost to the ground

scrotumAn article from an 1831 edition of the London Medical Gazette begins unpromisingly: 

Enlargement of the testes, scrotal tumors, and hydrocele, are common diseases to which the inhabitants of Tahiti, and other islands in the Southern Pacific, are subject; nor are they confined to the natives alone, as Europeans, after a long residence, are equally liable to those affections.

Although Read more

The case of the luminous patients

On the evolution of light in the human subjectIn June 1842 the Provincial Medical Journal devoted no less than ten pages to a long essay by the physician Sir Henry Marsh – an eminent namesake of the contemporary neurosurgeon, who was a leading light in Irish medicine and became physician to Queen Victoria.  What subject could be so important that a leading journal would make it the main … Read more

Lively and clean on the palate

Report on cheap wineIn 1865 the Medical Times and Gazette published a series of articles entitled ‘Report on cheap wine’.  There was some concern that the increasing availability of inexpensive wines and spirits was not simply due to increased supply, but that unscrupulous producers were cutting corners or selling counterfeit goods, with serious implications for public health.  A ‘Special Empirical Commissioner’ – today … Read more

The child with Bonaparte in his eyes

Child with Napoleon Bonaparte written in his irisAt least twice a year one or other of the newspapers prints a story about one of those mysterious apparitions in which the likeness of Jesus is burnt on to a piece of toast, or can be seen (if you squint) in the seeds of a watermelon.  In 1828 the London Medical Gazette reported a strange Napoleonic equivalent – thirteen … Read more

An exercise in futility

The steam carriageThis blog usually deals with medical matters; but I couldn’t resist reproducing this article from the first number of the American Medical and Philosophical Register, published in 1814, even though it was contributed to the non-medical section of the journal. An engineer called James Sharples – holder of a patent relating to steam engines – contributed an essay about … Read more

Sand, to be taken twice daily

The use of sandThe Annals of Medicine for 1799 contains a letter from a Dr Guthrie, an Scottish physician then working in St Petersburg.  At the invitation of the journal’s editor, he related a series of interesting cases he had encountered in his practice there.  One of them came from a former housemaid, who had visited his study to tell of a simple … Read more